Monday, 19 March 2018

Cyclone Marcus

On Saturday we had Cyclone Marcus visit us. Just a little Category 2 cyclone, you understand; hardly anything to worry about. Ha! And Ha again.
These shade trees in my local park will not be providing any shade in the future.
Our flat has a lovely view of the harbour. Another way of expressing that is to say we are very exposed to wind from that direction. Yes, indeed. The strong wind blew water between the window pane and its surround. Strange bubbling noises and spatters. That was a new experience. The doors rattled; the windows generally leaked; that was to be expected. Bubbling? That was new. And quite unnerving. The wind was supposedly only about 125km/hr. I think it may have been a bit stronger.

We lost electricity, but our building has an emergency generator that kicked in beautifully. Looking outside, I could see we were the lucky ones as all other buildings were in darkness.

After a few hours, the water pumps were turned off in our building. This is quite a tall building so water is pumped up to the roof and gravity fed to all the rooms below. The building manager spoke on the PA system and advised everyone to shelter in the bathrooms for a few hours. The eye of the cyclone passed right over us. Soon it was all over. Water and normal electricity were switched on again. Rain and wind stopped. We looked outside.

One of the main streets in the CBD
Branches everywhere
Upturned trees galore! Tropical trees are shallow rooted so they fall over quite easily. Streets were blocked. When the trees fell over they broke the water pipes and irrigation lines.  The crowd was out and about with phones and cameras. I did the same.

Minor water leaks were bubbling in the parks. One major broken pipe was being repaired in the main street near us. Shop signs had been torn off and scattered about. Some buildings which had not been well built or maintained had suffered minor damage.

The real damage has been caused by trees. Cars, fences, shadecloths, and buildings are crushed, ripped, and damaged. It is not safe to drink the water as so many pipes have been broken, but everyone now has access to water for other purposes. Trees brought down overhead power lines. That left nearly 30 000 people without electricity. Streets were blocked by fallen trees.
Irrrigation lines burst as trees fell.

Yesterday the hardware stores sold out of chainsaws and generators. Schools are closed until they are safe for children and staff. There is no electricity for the airconditioning for most of them. The children can not get a safe drink from the bubblers. Only about 10 000 homes are now without any electricity, but powerlines are still down in some areas. Many streets have now been cleared. Some busses will run today. Traffic lights are working again.

The looters have been busy.

This has been a huge wakeup call for our area. Just a little Category 2!! All this damage!

The cleanup is a big job.

5 comments:

  1. wow that is bad, and you are right, here we were thinking it was not such a big one. I would have been worried in a tall building but it sounds as though your building is well organised.

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    1. Marcus was just a little Category 2. How could it have done this? It has something to do with town planning I think. We are very lucky here. North Queensland has much worse cyclones than Marcus.
      It took 48 hours for the Water Boil Alert to be changed. Schools are slowly reopening. Many people still do not have electricity though. Maybe we had all become complacent.

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  2. Glad to hear that you are OK, and came through Marcus without major issues. The cyclone got pushed off the front pages here quite quickly because of the fires over the weekend in Victoria and NSW, so it is good to read your first-hand report of what it was like to live through it, and what the aftermath is like.

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    1. The fires in NSW have been on the news a lot here. It must have been horrific. It is shocking to see the way one house is spared and another destroyed. The farmers must be suffering terribly too. There is no way to save the stock in disasters like that.

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  3. Oh dear. Looks like a big job indeed!

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